Digital scrap items in the header, layouts and sidebar are by Miss Mint at or Jen Wilson at

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Embellishment Swap & Peppermint Goodies

The mint CT is having an embellishment swap and I am sooooo excited about it! An embellishment swap is where you clean out your stash of scrap supplies and send all your duplicate, unused or extra goodies to a friend and they do the same for you, doubling the amount of 'random' embellishments you have to choose from when crafting - or in our case, hybriding.

This is just a pinch (literally, not even a fourth) of what I am sending to my friend Megan. The picture shows a few of the bright holiday items in her mix:

I can't wait to see what she does with it! I'll try to remember to post a picture of all the embellies I recieve once they arrive.

Back to my new love of scrap supply pictures. None of my friends have probably seen how crisp & realistic Miss Mint's supplies look printed:

Some scrappers buy digi supplies so they can print their own supplies for a fraction of the cost of buying them packaged in stores. I have mine printed at a photo lab on matte paper but you can also print on cardstock at home if you want that traditional 'chipboard' look. When everything is cut out and piled all together, it makes it difficult to tell what paper pieces are digi and what is store-bought!

Halloween Inspiration!

It's that time of year when all the holiday decorations in the store get me itching to start some fun decorating projects! My hobbies have doubled since this time last year and so has my list of things I'd like to do!

For example, fellow CT member MJ sent me a bunch of her cute little scrapped circles. (I've recently gotten into basic card making.) This is a photo I snagged from her blog - I didn't make these:

Cute, right?!! I also love her photos - wish mine would come out as crisp! She was gracious enough to send me several samples so I could see how she had made them. (I'll be adding a smaller circle to my craft punch collection soon!)

And now that I'm in the mood for fall, I keep stumbling across inspiration everywhere! Take a look at this random mix of goodies I stumbled across on Etsy:

I love how the artist used eyelash yarn to give these tags a cobweb look! (the subtle photo border helps, too!) I'm a sucker for black gingham. :)

What is it about photographs of piles of embellishments that I love? (Brian would say it's the clutter. I seem to thrive in bead & scrap clutter!)

I did NOT know you could buy food on Etsy!!!!! Aren't these popcorn-balls-that-look-like-candy-apples adorable?!!

Okay, LOVE this halloween tree with it's scrapped paper ornaments!

The rusty jingle bell and tea stained tag caught my eye on this. I like how primitive and charming it is.

If you want to go looking for trouble, hop on Etsy and search for Halloween. (Or Halloween Sign or Halloween Decor or Halloween Cards) Then try to not buy all the fabulous home decor & craft items you find! LOL!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Give Love & Thanks

It's already September and today I started working on one of my big Halloween projects for Miss Mint. I'm brainstorming Thanksgiving crafts and I have a growing list of Christmas ideas but the one thing I keep coming back to is that I want to begin a tradition of giving and thankfulness this year. I want my children to grow up remembering the excitement of baking & decorating cookies then feeling that engulfing sense of love and joy when they gave them away. Or the adrenaline rush as they tip toed a surprise gift to a front door and rang the doorbell before sprinting away, giggling with anticipation and glowing with excitement!

Then there are the hard gifts to give. The ones you got so excited about making for a friend you love so much but for whatever reason, the moment they are complete - and are more gorgeous than you had envisioned - you feel shy about delivering them. What do you say when you give it to them? What if the gift gives the wrong impression? What if your intention is misread? What if you appear shallow for giving a temporal item and not your time or service? My fellow female readers will understand me when I say that our "girl rules" mean we have more to pay attention to than just the obvious codes of social etiquette. So why would I pause at delivering a thoughtful gift made with all the love I could pour into it?

Because the recipients are facing something I have never, and pray to not ever, experience in my life. And yet, when I know they would want to have their friends closest, I feel this sudden shyness about bothering them, interrupting their day and taking away from their time.

Good friends bring out the best in you and I am so grateful that I have a friend who has experienced things I have not and who can give the best advice for such situations: GO. E-mail, talk, visit, drop off cards, letters & gifts; give support and hugs, call & listen, offer to help with specifics - not just make vague, general promises that you can be called on at any time - but really look for where you can help out and then do it. You won't be stepping on anyone's toes, you'll be answering prayers. (And probably doing the only kind thing for that person all week.) You won't be wasting anyone's time, you'll be saving them hours. And you won't offend with a gift, no matter how small, because it will be a tangible reminder that they are surrounded by friends who will go to the end of the earth with them and then carry them back home. Just go and act. It's wanted, needed and appreciated.

To everyone reading this, let me share that the smallest gestures are more than wanted and that you wouldn't believe how heartbreaking it is when everyone shies away, afraid to say or do the wrong thing, and unkowingly do the absolute worst thing: ignore.

If you love them, step in (or break in if you have to!) and show that you will brave scary feelings and frightening situations with them, cry alongside them, bake double batches of cupcakes and pack three times as many school lunches to ensure your friends aren't left wanting and needing. Anything you can think of will be perfect and honestly, you simply cannot go wrong with whatever you lovingly give!


Kels, I'm so sorry that I lived minutes away from you in Kingwood in 2004 and didn't know you. We have been close since the moment we met and I wish that moment had been at a baby shower years earlier. But the things you have shared with me have really changed my character and although I wasn't there with you, I won't be hesitant about approaching those that need friends, comfort and companionship because of what I have learned from you. Perhaps one day I will get over my hesitation and shyness but thank you for giving me new perspective. For the rest of my life I'll never be able to be a quiet observer. I'll always go and do.

Monday, September 1, 2008

This world. *SIGH*

I was digging through the drawer in our kitchen where we keep tape, string and other miscellaneous items when I found an old pet fire rescue sticker. You know, the ones you put on your window to let firemen know there is an animal in the house you'd like saved if possible after all the family is out. I remembered that I had gotten it for free when we moved to Houston so I googled quickly this morning to see if they still made a child's fire rescue sticker like my parents had once put on my window when I was little. I shouldn't have been surprised to see Fire Departments urging parents on all the websites to NOT use such stickers. (For the same reasons we didn't decorate our house or yard in any way when Aiden was born.)

The first thing they said was that they too easily mark the rooms where children are sleeping for predators, which are more common in neighborhoods than housefires. Next firefighters are trained to enter and search, not wander around the property looking for stickers first. This is because children change rooms, grow up and move away. Precious time would be lost looking for stickers in the window and searching bedrooms while children may be trapped elsewhere in the house. Lastly there is some belief that the stickers might build a false sense of security for children who would wait to be rescued instead of trying to escape from a fire on their own. Most sites requested that you remove all of these types of stickers immediately, whether they are on a child's bedroom or not, so you don't attract unwanted people to your property.

Isn't it sad that the world has changed so much? Parents want to protect their children from everything but it seems more and more impossible to be their sole protectors, watching them 24/7. I thought it was insightful of Paul Holinger when he said in his book "What Babies Say Before They Can Talk" that children should be allowed to politely say "no" to a parent at any age and have that answer be respected. That way children learn that they can say no to adults and exercise their will to escape dangerous situations instead of being intimidated by strangers because they are used to submitting to adults (parents) who never allow a contradictory response at home. I know Brian probably thinks I'm a bit too passive with Aiden sometimes but so what if he "gets away" with telling me no, he doesn't want to pick his toys up right now. The toys on the playroom floor aren't that big of a deal but the fact that he got to say no and have me respect what HE asked is tremendous! Not only for his understanding that he can express any thought or feeling freely and have it aknowledged but it builds our relationship closer to the mutually respectful, parent-as-a-gentle-and-loving-guide role that I want.

Funny how one little sticker and one little google search can get me thinking so much about parenting!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Aiden, Nursery & Gravity

The title says it all, right? Today Brian took Aiden into the church nursery a few weeks early to start getting him used to it. (How can my baby already be coming up on 18 months?!!!) Any ways, after play time in nursery they sit the children down for a snack, have them fold their arms for a prayer and then pass out a treat with little paper dixie cups of water before they clean up for coloring time.

Aiden watched with obvious admiration as a few of the other boys whooped and hollered when it was time for snacks and even joined in with a bit of paper towel throwing. When snacks were passed out he politely ate his and picked up the new word "MINE" from his tablemates.

I should add that the rest of the afternoon he spent practicing the word, insisting that every book and toy was 'mine'. We didn't argue with him because it's true. They really are his. We're hoping this word won't stick but it seems to be a rite of toddlerhood passage and I'm sure it will soon be followed by shoves to playmates to prove his 90th percentile size MAKES the toys his. Oh, and that's not all he picked up in nursery today. Brian and I exchanged a look of horror when he followed one statement with "Why?"

Back to snack time. I watched in calm silence as Aiden was initiated into nursery by pouring the contents of his much-too-full dixie cup straight into his lap and I smiled politely when told that all the new kids do it. This cup was immediately replaced with another half as full and he actually seemed to get some of the water into his mouth before finishing the impromptu baptism with a splash down the front of his shirt. I'll skip the Gymboree outfit and send him to church in a swim suit next week for round two of the initiation. Maybe I'll pack a towel, too, so he doesn't have to drip-dry during coloring time.

I slipped back out of nursery and met up with Brian after church to find Aiden's best blue polo covered in red dribble stains. Brian informed me that he ate a red crayon in the one nanosecond he wasn't watching him and we have some things to practice at home. (Shame on me for buying the more expensive twistables crayons that are all plastic and difficult to eat...)

This afternoon I moved his little table from the playroom to the kitchen so we can practice sitting on a chair at a table, not throwing our paper towels (too much) and not insisting that our neighbor's snacks are "mine" no matter how insistent they are that your snacks are theirs. We also practiced folding our arms and trying to be quieter for prayers. We haven't really pushed Aiden do this before, we just insist he sit in our lap and try to keep him quiet as prayers are said. Tonight he quickly picked up on the "fun" arm-folding trick I was trying to show him. He beamed up at me, balled his little hands into fists and slammed his knuckels together in a move mildly reminiscent of something I've seen martial art fighters do before they bow to an opponent. He's such a comedian I couldn't help but laugh aloud! So long as he's not injuring his neighbors in nursery I'm sure no one will mind his Zen prayer posture.

Back to the table. Twice he fell off the chair and once he pulled the table over on top of himself AND fell out of his chair at the same time. (Those must be my genes at work.) Luckily Ikea children's furniture is nothing more than bolted-together dowel rods and painted white refrigerator box pieces so he wasn't injured, just frightened. He now approaches the table with caution, telling it "no no" as he sits down, as if it will tackle him to the ground at any minute.

I'm anxious to see how this week goes. I'm planning on practicing prayers at several random times (like fire drills) so we can work on his thai chi arm folding and reverence while digging through my parenting books for new ideas on how to handle this "mine" thing he's picked up. I'll admit I'm a little worried that nursery will turn my busy-but-sweet-hearted little boy into a non-stop-terror of a toddler but I know that he'll have fun. It will be a great way for me to learn how to be a playful parent and if nothing else, I'll learn to relax. I am the mother of a boy and I swear, they put you through so much that whether you like it or not, you learn to be cool!